Attracting and Keeping Younger Adults

Webinar: “Attracting and Keeping Younger Adults”

When: Febuary 17, 2017 – 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM


Valerie Stafford-Mallis, Director of Chapter Development
Valerie Stafford-Mallis,
Director of Chapter Development

A recurring question HLAA chapter and state organization leaders ask is, “How can we get young people to come to our meetings? If we are able to get them in the door, they seem to come once or twice and then they don’t come back.”

It’s reasonable to assume that people decide to come to HLAA meetings because they are looking for something. Believe it or not, even in the age of ready availability of hearing loss information on the internet, not everything active young adults need in order to live well with their hearing loss can be found online.

In this webinar Valerie will share insights HLAA has learned from young adults with hearing loss about what they need. The webinar will offer suggestions about where to find active young adults with hearing loss, how to help them, and program ideas to get them to come back.  While we can’t guarantee that EVERY suggestion will work for EVERY chapter EVERY time, the odds are very good that at least some of them will help increase young adult participation  in chapter activities. Please make your plans to join us for a 40-45 minute presentation with 15-20 minutes of time allocated to discussion. The webinar will be captioned.

Career Success after Hearing Loss

February 15, 2017  8:00pm – 9:00pm

David BaldridgeBio: David C. Baldridge, BGS, MBA Ph.D.


This webinar will focus on career success research in the general population, Dr. Baldridge’s current research on career success after hearing loss, and participants’ own employment experiences. We will discuss the types of jobs, tasks, and organizational contexts in which people with hearing loss are more likely to be successful. We will also discuss day-to-day behaviors associated with workplace success, including management of supervisors, coworkers, and accommodations. Guided by Dr. Baldridge’s current research findings, we will discuss post-hearing loss quests for meaningful work and big picture answers to “Who am I?” “Am I still successful?” as well as redefinition of oneself (e.g., I am now both a person with a disability and a successful professional) and career success (e.g., I now care about service to society as much as I care about material success).

Access this webinar.

Folk Artist Zoe Nutt Shares Her Personal Hearing Loss Story in Her Music Video Like You

photo of Zoe NuttBethesda, Maryland–Nashville folk artist Zoë Nutt today announced the release of the video for her new single “Like You,” which invites people to hear her story of living with progressive hearing loss and tinnitus. Zoë is thrilled to partner with the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) and HelloGiggles to unveil the emotionally-driven, captioned video and to use her music as a means to bring a positive message and inspire others for a greater cause. “Like You” can be downloaded via NoiseTrade.

Artist tip proceeds will be donated to HLAA.

Describing the video in her own words, Zoë said:

I am going deaf. And I want people to know. We are all dealing with issues in our lives, but we don’t have to be defined by our problems. I’d rather define my life by how I’m dealing with my problems. It’s a strange feeling to be releasing a music video about losing my ability to hear, but it’s the hand I’ve been dealt and one that I plan to overcome. This music video represents the start of my story and I’m very excited to write the next chapter.

I’m on a timer, and there’s no way to know when my world will go silent, tomorrow or years from now. I was crying over the page in my notebook, finally letting the news sink in. You’re not going to be able to hear. The bulk of “Like You” was written in the fear of that moment. It’s a letter to the children I hope to have one day. It’s been my way to come to terms with not knowing what’s going to happen in the years to come. But releasing this music video has been more than just a letter to a possible future. It’s most importantly the start of a conversation I’ve been longing to have with others. I am going deaf, but I will not let it stop me from making music.

HLAA Executive Director Barbara Kelley commented, “Congratulations to Zoë on the release of her new video. We are grateful for her generosity, but even more, we know she will reach people of all ages with hearing loss through her music. We wish her great success.”

Go to HelloGiggles today to watch Zoë Nutt’s compelling music video for “Like You.”

More About Zoë Nutt:

Zoë Nutt is a storyteller. She likes to tell stories with music and poignant and meaningful lyrics, but it’s perhaps her vocal interpretation of those words that brings her musical tales to life. Simply put, Zoë Nutt is a voice you will not soon forget. Raised in Knoxville, Tennessee and a graduate of the songwriting school at Belmont University in Nashville, Zoë has a way of quieting a room and hushing those voices in our heads that make it hard to sit and listen, so that all you want to do is hear the next thing she is going to sing. Cruz Contreras of the band The Black Lillies says, “Zoë Nutt has a voice as haunting and seemingly ancient as the East Tennessee hills she hails from. Her lyricism and delivery are poignant, fresh and promising. Like so many great artists, she knows how to mix the new with the old and create music with broad appeal while never compromising her artistic integrity.”

Policy & Politics: Why Hearing Aids Are Not Covered by Medicare

cover illustrationHearing Journal: Policy & Politics: Why Hearing Aids Are Not Covered by Medicare — cover story by Gordon Glantz

It is unclear what former Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter meant when he said: “All our work, our whole life is a matter of semantics, because words are the tools with which we work, the material out of which laws are made, out of which the Constitution was written. Everything depends on our understanding of them.”

It comes down to how words are heard, then interpreted.

For the hearing impaired, both hearing and interpretation seemingly form an unholy alliance when it comes to Medicare coverage of, or affordable alternatives to, hearing aids.

Based on what could be tricky wordplay, hearing aids do not fall under the definition of a durable medical device, which describes as the following:

  • Durable (long-lasting)
  • Used for a medical reason
  • Not usually useful to someone who isn’t sick or injured
  • Used in your home
  • Has an expected lifetime of at least three years

This equipment must be “medically necessary” and something “that your doctor prescribes for use in your home.”

Examples include blood sugar monitors and test strips for diabetics, canes and crutches for the immobile, and oxygen equipment for those with compromised breathing capacity. And, since 1986, so are cochlear implants, which involves a surgical procedure for the “severe-to-profound” nerve deafness.

But when it comes to hearing aids, the swelling number of people with age-related hearing loss is left in the dark. [Full story]

Tickets Are on Sale For Three Upcoming Accessible Theater Events

scene from play "The Curious Incident"CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT TIME
at the Boston Opera House.

Saturday, March 11,2020  2 PM: Open Captioned performance (Open Captions by c2)

Tickets starting at $44
Saturday, March 18, 2020 at 2 PM: American Sign Language performance

Tickets starting at $44
Sunday, March 12, 2020 at 1 PM: Audio described performance (description by Laura Willis)

Tickets starting at $44


scene from Midsummer Night's DreamA MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM
at the Trinity Repertory Company

Open Captioned Performance:    Sunday, February 12, 2020  at 2 PM


ad from Billy Elliot The MusicalBILLY ELLIOT THE MUSICAL
at the Wheelock Family Theater

January 27, 2020 – February 26, 2020
Friday nights at 7:30 PM
Saturday & Sunday matinees at 3:00 PM

Tickets: $20-$38
Box Office: 617-879-2300

Advocacy Alert!  Co-sponsors for Hearing Aid Coverage, ASL Interpreter – Bills are due by Friday, February 3, 2017

from Betsy McCarthy, Chair of the Massachusetts Legislative Task Force:abstract image of advocate hands

Please read below for bills regarding hearing aids and ASL interpreters –  just four of the many bills filed in this new legislative session. A new Legislative Session has begun in Massachusetts and co-sponsors for bills are due by the end of this week, Friday February 3, 2017.

Representative Scibak has re-filed his hearing aid bills. Links to the brief description are listed below.   Text is not yet available but a list of Rep. Scibak’s bills is found at

  • HD567 provides coverage for hearing aids
  • HD596 would provide a tax credit

Senator Welch has re-filed two ASL interpreter related bills: SD1439 and SD1668.  Please note these are docket numbers; they will receive an official bill number after being assigned to committee.  Links to the current text and brief description are listed below.   

You can find your legislators and their contact information at When you call to ask them to sponsor one of the bills listed above, we strongly suggest you use that time to request an appointment to meet them in person on the afternoon of March 13th following the annual Deaf and Hard of Hearing Constituents Day, scheduled from 10am-noon (I’ll send information about that event in a separate email).

A comprehensive summary of “bills of interest” to the D/HH community will be prepared once assigned to committee.  The bills listed above are of particular interest and focus for the Legislative Task Force.  We will also update the Hearing Aid bill Fact Sheet.

Additionally, if you want to look for other bills, only those filed by Senators are searchable by keyword whereas bills filed in the House have to be looked up on the page of the representative who filed it or has signed on as a co-sponsor.

If you have any questions, please contact  Betsy McCarthy, Chair of the Legislative Task Force, at

Consumer Reports evaluates Personal Sound Amplification Products (PSAPS)

Hearing Loss: No More Suffering in Silence? This widespread problem is associated with depression, isolation, and possibly, dementia. We report on affordable solutions and what’s being done to give everyone access to treatment.

CR Magazine image of "hero suffering silence"By Julia Calderone
February 02, 2017

Age-related hearing loss has long been thought of as an inevitable part of getting older, more a nuisance than a life-altering medical condition—at least by those not experiencing it.

But that’s all changing.

In the past two years, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) and the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) have published reports calling untreated hearing loss a significant national health concern­, one that’s associated with other serious health problems, including depression and a decline in memory and concentration. Several studies even suggest a link between hearing loss and dementia.

The estimated 48 million Americans affected by hearing impairment didn’t need that memo.

More than 100 years ago, Helen Keller, who was deaf and blind, described the isolation caused by hearing loss aptly when she said: “Blindness separates people from things. Deafness separates people from people.”

Lise Hamlin, director of public policy for the nonprofit Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) echoes that sentiment. “We’re social creatures,” she says. “When you shut down the ability to talk and interact with people, that isolation affects your health and your ability to participate in society.”

Recent research shows that the number of Americans of working age with hearing loss has declined slightly, but it continues to be a problem for seniors, affecting 28.6 million Americans ages 60 and older.

Despite the prevalence of hearing loss and the negative impact it can have on health and quality of life, relatively few people seek treatment. Almost half of the 131,686 Consumer Reports subscribers surveyed for our 2015 Annual Fall Questionnaire reported having trouble hearing in noisy environments, yet only 25 percent had their hearing checked in the previous year. And according to research published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, just 14 percent of those who could benefit from hearing aids actually use them.

People don’t seek help for several reasons. A common one, according to NAS, PCAST, and others, is that they can’t afford it. NAS reports that hearing aids cost an average of $4,700 per pair in 2013 and can climb to almost twice that price. And they’re usually not covered by health insurance or Medicare.

No wonder the market for less expensive, over-the-counter hearing helpers known as PSAPs (personal sound amplification products) is growing.

We dug deep to find out why hearing aids and treatment for hearing loss can be so costly, and what’s being done to bring solutions within reach. We also tried several PSAPs to determine whether they’re an affordable alternative to hearing aids for some people.

Here’s what we uncovered. [Full story]


MA Governor’s House 1 Budget Funds MCDHH  To Continue Its Mission

photo of Heidi ReedFrom Heidi Reed, Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing (MCDHH):

As we know, the mission of the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing (MCDHH) is committed to providing accessible communication, education and advocacy to consumers and private and public entities to that programs, services and opportunities are fully accessible to persons throughout  Massachusetts who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing. The Governor’s House 1 Budget (H.1) was announced this week and funds MCDHH  to continue our mission for FY18  as summarized below.

H.1 line item 4125-0100  allocates $5.6M for MCDHH. This figure is a $243K (5%) increase over FY17 estimated spending, and will fund  MCDHH at a level equal to the FY17 GAA. (General Appropriations Act).

H.1 Snapshot:

•       Level support for Referral, Case Management and Social Services, and Communication  Access Technology & Training Services. These  MCDHH programs provide interpreters and CART services for more than 30,000 requests, provide more than 1,000 families with support for navigating state services,  and train state agencies, elderly services, police, and emergency responders on the needs of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing communities.

•       Level support for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Independent Living Services (DHILS).  In FY16, DHILS delivered over 23,000 service hours by providing information and referrals, peer mentoring, advocacy and skills training and a variety of independent living skills.

•       Provides Assistive Technology (AT) funding which serves as a last resort for highly vulnerable and elderly constituents who primarily request hearing aids in order to manage progressive and permanent hearing loss. Funding will support approximately 54-55 elderly constituents.

•       Supports collective bargaining and step increases.

•       Includes MCDHH cost savings from  reducing $76K in renegotiated office leases and from 9C cuts of $200K during FY17.

MCDHH will continue to be authorized to have revenue from interpreter fees. Our revenue funds are reinvested for communication access.

4125-0122    Chargeback revenue, capped at $250,000.

4125-0104    Interpreter services Revolving/Trust fund revenue $350,000

We at MCDHH look forward to continued collaboration and partnerships with the Baker administration, the Legislature, and our constituents in our strong commitment to improving accessibility and quality of services for Deaf and Hard of Hearing adults and children throughout the Commonwealth.

Thank you for your dedicated service to the Commonwealth through partnership with MCDHH.

Heidi L. Reed

MA Commission f/t Deaf and Hard of Hearing
600 Washington Street
Boston, MA 02111
Voice:  617-740-1611
TTY:  617-740-1711
Fax:  617-740-1810
VP     617-326-7546